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Alan Katz

Dr. Alan Katz

CBC: Mix of health-care providers help long COVID patients as researchers work to understand condition

Long COVID 'has significant impact on both patients … and health-care providers,' researcher says

June 2, 2022 — 

As CBC Manitoba reports:

Over a year ago, Lisa Tarko caught COVID-19 and ended up in hospital for nearly a month.

She’s still living with the effects of the virus every day.

“It really is a struggle,” said Tarko, 64, who finds herself among the tens of thousands of Canadians living with post-COVID condition, also known as long COVID.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Manitoba is trying to better understand how long COVID is affecting Manitobans, and health-care providers here are working to help people with symptoms. 

Those symptoms can include fatigue, chest pain, trouble speaking and problems with breathing, memory and concentration, the World Health Organization says.

Tarko had to use an oxygen feed before COVID-19 because of severe asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, symptoms. She also used a walker, but only when she went out. 

Now, she needs the walker even inside her home. She lives with chronic headaches, fatigue and brain fog.

…In Manitoba, a Shared Health spokesperson said the province doesn’t track the number of people with long COVID — but that’s what researchers are now trying to learn. 

Dr. Alan Katz, a family physician and health services researcher at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, is part of a team using data from Manitoba health records to see whether those with a positive PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for COVID-19 went on to seek care for symptoms that could be related to long COVID. 

“We’ve really been working to understand the data that’s available and to make sure we’re getting it right,” said Katz. “We don’t want to overestimate or underestimate this because it has significant impact on both patients … and health-care providers.”

The team is also launching a survey in the coming weeks to collect data from people who tested positive on a rapid antigen test, since the province limited access to the more sensitive PCR testing in Manitoba around the time infections from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus started to surge. 

Read the full CBC story here.

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